BALTIMORE — — Bo Bichette hit a career-high three home runs in Game 2 of a doubleheader, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Monday night to complete a sweep and extend their lead in the American League wild card. the race.
Bichette hit a three-run homer off Nick Vespi in the third inning, then added solo homers in the sixth and seventh off Bruce Zimmermann. The shortstop had six hits and seven RBIs during the doubleheader, he is hitting .400 (24-for-60) in his last 15 games and has 21 home runs this season.
“I think today was probably the most competitive year we’ve ever had,” Bichette said. “It’s a good thing this time of year, especially in this series.”
According to STATS, Bichette is the first American League shortstop to record six hits and three home runs in a single day.
“He’s just a really good hitter who’s warming up,” Toronto interim manager John Schneider said. “We’ve said this all along that Bo is a huge part of our team and offense, and right now he’s in lockdown.”
Bichette lined the middle in the ninth when he had a chance to tie the major league record for four home runs in a game. He matched a career high with five RBIs in the night cup.
Toronto won the opener 7-3 behind Kevin Gausman, who allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his first start at Camden Yards since Baltimore traded him in July 2018.
Cavan Biggio also homered in Game 2 for the Blue Jays, who won their fifth straight game and extended their lead over Baltimore to 4½ games for the third and final AL wild card. The teams will meet 10 times in the final 31 days of the regular season, which began on Monday.
Rougned Odor and Adley Rutschman homered in Game 2 for Baltimore. The Orioles have lost three in a row, their longest streak since a four-game stretch from June 28 to July 2.
Toronto starter José Berríos (10-5) allowed three runs and eight hits over six innings. He struck out two.
Baltimore eliminated scheduled starter Jordan Lyles between games of the doubleheader. Lyles went to warm up but wasn’t feeling well and was replaced by Keegan Akin (3-2). Akin allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings, both of which came back on Bichette’s home run that put Toronto up 3-1.
“It was right before the lineup (card) trade,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “I had Akin run and get ready as fast as possible. … Is that how it works. We fell short and it didn’t work out.”
The Blue Jays opened it up in the sixth against Zimmermann. Bichette led off with a home run to secure his eighth career multi-homer game, and Biggio followed with a solo shot two batters later. After back-to-back singles, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run double.
Bichette homered again with one out in the seventh, becoming the first Blue Jays player with a three-homer game since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did it on April 13 against the New York Yankees. According to STATS, they are the second pair of American League teammates under the age of 25 to have three-home run games in the same season, joining Lou Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri of the 1927 Yankees.
Teoscar Hernández hit his 20th home run in the first game to support Gausman (11-9), selected by Baltimore fourth overall in the 2012 draft. He quickly came through the club’s minor league system and pitched for the Orioles between 2013 and 2018.
Arguably his biggest hurdle in his return to Baltimore was a fourth-inning balk call. Gausman jumped off the mound and began arguing with second base umpire Jeff Nelson before Bichette rushed to stop him.
“If you really look at the replay, I stopped,” Gausman said. “I felt like Jeff, for whatever reason, wanted to make that call and he went into the game knowing that he was going to make that call. It’s unfortunate. He was obviously pretty hot and Bo saved me and did a good job of reminding me ‘Hey, we’ve got two games today. It’s not just a game.’”
Baltimore’s Anthony Santander homered from both sides of the plate for his seventh career multi-homer game in Game 1. Mike Baumann (1-3), added as the Orioles’ 29th man, allowed three runs in five innings in his first career start.
The Christmas doubleheader included a makeover from a rainout on Aug. 10 during Toronto’s first visit to Baltimore this season.
Blue Jays: Toronto activated RHP Julian Merryweather (abdominal strain) from the 60-day disabled list before Game 2. The Blue Jays dealt RHP Casey Lawrence to Triple-A Buffalo and designated C Zack Collins for assignment. … RHP Zach Pop was added as the 29th man on the team. Pop pitched a scoreless ninth in Game 1.
Orioles: In addition to adding Baumann, Baltimore recalled RHP Beau Sulser from Triple-A Norfolk and sent RHP Rico Garcia to Norfolk. Sulser was sent back to Norfolk after pitching an inning in the opener. Baltimore recalled Zimmermann from Norfolk for the second game. … Baltimore claimed RHP Jake Reed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and placed INF Jonathan Araúz on the restricted list. RHP Phoenix Sanders approved the outright waivers and was assigned to Norfolk.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Blue Jays: RHP Mitch White (1-5, 4.67 ERA) is 0-2 with a 12.10 ERA in his last two starts. He faces Baltimore for the first time on Tuesday.
Orioles: RHP Kyle Bradish (3-5, 5.17) has allowed four hits in 15 scoreless innings in his last two appearances to win back-to-back starts after earning just one win in his first 15 at-bats in the rotation. He is 0-1 with a 6.91 ERA in three starts against Toronto.